Thiruchi Sri Uchi Pillaiyar

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By Saravanan Iyer


Tiruchirappalli, was earlier known as Thirisirapuram, as a Rakshasa called Thirisiran worshipped Lord Shiva here. There are also stories that since there are three peaks on Rock Fort, occupied by three Gods Shiva, Parvathi & Vinayakar (Uchi Pillaiyar), the place was called Thiri-sikarapuram and later called Tirisirapuram. This place was also known as Sirappalli, Rishabachalam & Dhakshina Kailasam during ancient days. The Rock Fort hill is beleived to be formed lakhs of years back (Archeology and Scientific Sources).

As per mythology, once there was a great tussle between Aadiseshan and the wind God Vaayu to determine who was more powerful. Aadiseshan encircled the Maha Meru hill (Himalaya) and challenged Vaayu whether he can take Himalayas off his clutches. Vaayu made great efforts but finally accepted his defeat. It is said that during the fight, 3 pieces of the mountain broke and flew off to different places. Out of the 3 peices which flew off, one is the Rock fort at Trichy. The other two are at Triconamalee (Ceylon) and Sri Kalahasthi (AP).

Uchi Pillaiyar Temple

Uchi Pillaiyar (also known as "Uchi Vinayakar") Temple is located on the peak of the Rock Fort hill. The shrine is at a height of 273 ft and one has to climb over 400 steps to reach the pinnacle. Sri Thayumanavar temple is located half way along the path to the peak. Though the climb is a bit steep, the soothing cool breeze helps one reach the peak with too much strain. A panoramic view of the entire town of Trichy and the Srirangam Temple from the Uchi Vinayakar temple is absolutely breathtaking.

The Story

Rama having defeated Ravana, went back to Ayodhya with Sita, where he had is Pattabhishekam (coronation) as a king. Vibhishana (brother of Ravana) accompanied him on his way back to Ayodhya. After the celebrations, when Vibhishana wanted to return back to Lanka to take charge, Rama presented him with a Ranga Vimana to which he had been personally performing poojas until then. Rama on presenting the idol and Vimana, told Vibhishana to take it to Lanka and install it there with a condition that, on the way back, the idol must not be placed on the ground anywhere for whatsoever reason. Vibhishana agreed to this condition and having thanked Rama, proceeded towards Lanka.

While passing by the city of Thiruchi, Vibhishana was extremely fascinated by the beauty of the flow of the river Cauvery. He felt that it was the right place for him to have his bath and some rest before proceeding to Lanka. He looked around for some help to safeguard the Ranga Vimana until he finishes his bath. There was a small boy playing around in the banks of the Cauvery. Vibhishana handed over the Ranga Vimana to him and told him strictly not to place it on the ground till he comes back. The boy agreed and told him that he will call Vibhishana thrice and if he doesn't come back, he will keep it on the ground and go away.

Vibhishana went into the waters and was enjoying his bath in the river. The boy called him thrice but Vibhishana did not respond as he was in the water. The boy kept the idol on the ground and it started growing enormously. Vibhishana came back in a hurry. Seeing the Vimana on the ground, he tried to lift it but all his attempts failed. He got furious with the boy and went chasing after him. The boy ran to the hilltop and sat on the peak as he couldn't run further. Vibhishana knocked the boy on his head with anger. The boy revealed himself as Lord Vinayaka to Vibhishana. Vibhishana prayed to the lord and went back to Lanka leaving behind the Ranga on the banks of Cauvery.

It was Vinayaka's trick to retain Lord Ranga in Trichy, which is today's famous Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. And Lord Vinayaka who played tricks with Vibhishana, is worshipped as Uchi Pillaiyar at the hilltop. Even today one can see a wound on his head caused by the knock of Vibhishana. There is also a rock-cut cave near the temple. The path inside the cave leads to Woraiyur, which was one of the popular cities during ancient times. The temple and its surroundings is a wonderful getaway from the grinds of materialistic life.